As everyone knows, your wedding is meant to be one of the best days of your life – an occasion that you will remember fondly forever, and your guests will be honored to be in attendance.
There are many different things to think about when considering how to best organize and plan your special day – ranging from logistical issues such as how the catering should be arranged, which guests to invite, what vision you want to incorporate, as well as if you want a band or a DJ (plus hundreds of other details).
Easily one of the most significant things to figure out when planning your wedding, other than your budget, is what type of venue or location you should use for the event. The venue sets the tone for the entire event, so giving it some thought is very important.
Here are just a few things to think about when choosing a venue for your wedding:
ONE: Does the venue meet your practical requirements for things like space?
First things first, the venue you choose for your wedding has to be spacious enough to comfortably accommodate all of the guests you are planning to invite, in addition to being suitable with regards to the features and attractions that you plan to include. And especially in these times, with social distancing, a venue’s size in comparison to the expected guest list, is more important than ever!
Even if your wedding venue of choice isn’t necessarily very large, it should at least “feel” spacious, so as to ensure that everyone’s attention can comfortably be on the wedding itself, and the accompanying festivities, rather than on issues and considerations concerning feeling cramped. On the contrary, you also don’t want to choose a venue that is massively large compared to whom you are expecting, otherwise, you are going to spend unnecessary dollars making the venue feel smaller and more intimate.
In one sense, this should be the most direct, unemotional, and “straightforward” thing to figure out when choosing your wedding venue but it does require you to be quite attentive, to think through the details with some precision, and to make sure to pay attention to numbers and logistics. If you have any concerns before signing and you are working with a wedding planner, ask them to put together a preliminary diagram (CAD) based on what you are envisioning so you know it will for sure work before you sign your life away.
TWO: Is the venue easily accessible for your key guests?
These days, it is increasingly common that the couple’s friends and family groups tend to be spread out over the country (or even Internationally).
In order to ensure that you can have those who are nearest and dearest to you at your wedding, you should think carefully about how accessible the venues you are considering are for your key guests.
A few things to consider for your traveling guests:
- Are there direct flights to the area where you have chosen your venue? And if not, how many flights does the guest have to take to get there?
- How long is the flight for the majority of your guests? How expensive is the flight?
- Can your guests rent a car, get an uber, take a train, or book a shuttle easily to your chosen location?
- Are there lots of hotel options near the venue that offer various price ranges for your guests?
- How will your guest get to and from the venue the day of the wedding?
- Is your venue at high altitude? Do you have to take a gondola ride? Will all of your guests be able to handle this?
All of these things will involve some logistical thinking and research – but it’s critical to hash out the details.
THREE: Is the venue in an area that you have some personal or emotional connection to?
It is always a bonus if the venue you’re going to use for your wedding happens to have some particular emotional significance to you, either because of where it’s located, or because of an association it has for you, due to the experience of a friend or relative.
Take this historical venue for instance, Grand Hall. They have had weddings where the parents and the parents children have gotten married here because of its vast history and significance. There are LOTS of venues like this. You just have to look for them. Having your wedding take place in such a venue, can offer even deeper meaning to you, your guests, and your loved ones. The Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina is another venue as such. Also, check out the beautiful and historic Oheka Castle.
FOUR: Is the venue the kind of place that you will want to look back on, fondly, in the years to come versus being “trendy”?
This point comes down to getting in touch with your own internal feelings and sense of things, and figuring out whether or not the wedding venue in question “feels” right – and, more specifically, whether it feels like the kind of place that you want to look back on in the years to come and will still be happy with your choice. There are lots of “trendy” venues right now, such as breweries, warehouses and urban lofts, that 10 years from now you might have wished you had chosen something more classic and timeless. So be careful. Also, if you REALLY want to get married in a church, you will want to consider the distance between your chosen venue and your church. No one likes lengthy shuttle rides from spot to spot. (well, unless you are serving champagne in a can on the shuttle)
It might be that the wedding venue you are considering seems perfect on paper or pictures – beautiful, in a scenic location, and able to accommodate the number of guests you plan to have in attendance – but that something just doesn’t feel “right.” When planning your wedding, paying attention to your “gut” is certainly worth doing.
FIVE: Does the venue fit within your budgetary means?
We know we are always talking the “B” word over here, but it’s SO important. We can’t tell you how many clients have come to us with XYZ dollars and already booked there venue and gave them 30-40% of their budget already. NO! You can’t do that. It will make the rest of the planning absolutely IMPOSSIBLE trying to plan all the other aspects of the wedding with the rest of the money leftover. Trust us! That being said, if there is a specific venue you are so in love with, but can’t swing it financially, consider picking a day during off season or mid week. You can usually get better pricing this way.
Table 6 Productions